Now, runaway vegan Sarma Melngailis – who was the focus of Bad Vegan – is having her story retold. This time, as a drama produced by streaming platform Peacock.
The one-hour drama will be based on Allen Salkin’s Vanity Fair article ‘The Runaway Vegan’. Salkin will be familiar to viewers of Bad Vegan because he featured in the documentary, although the Netflix series wasn’t based on his exposé.
The new Peacock drama will be written by Heather Regnier (Veronica Mars), according to Deadline. It will chronicle “the rise and fall of the relationship between Sarma Melngailis and Anthony Strangis, two people who fulfilled each other’s desires to live in a world that existed outside of reality – which ultimately destroyed them,” according to the synopsis. It adds that it will be: “A tragic, twisted love story, doomed from the start.”
The title of the series draws on Melngailis’s popular raw vegan restaurant Pure Food And Wine. The booming business saw Melngailis quickly become a celebrity restaurateur who catered for the likes of Owen Wilson, Bill Clinton, model Gisele Bündchen and more.
But that all quickly changed when, under the influence of Strangis, she stole nearly $2million (£1.5million) from the restaurant and its staff, and went on the run. How did they get caught eventually, you may ask? Through a Domino’s pizza order.
The story gained notoriety, not least because of the bizarre circumstances that surrounded it. If you watched Bad Vegan, you’ll know that Strangis promised Melngailis everything from spiritual and financial gain to her dog’s immortality, and we’re sure such juicy details will be prime fodder for the new drama.
While we don’t know anything more yet, we can only hope that it will be a portrayal that Melngailis will be happy to get behind. Taking to her blog Sarma Raw to talk about the recent Netflix documentary, she explained that it was “disturbingly misleading”.
She said: “I think Bad Vegan conveys what anyone that knew me understood, which is that I was very close with so many of the employees over the years, and intentionally harming them is just about the last thing I’d have done. The good people who’d worked at the business back then were right to be devastated and angry.”
The ending of the Netflix documentary had us thinking about the series long after we’d finished watching. Clarifying the surprise ending, Melngailis added: “The ending of Bad Vegan is disturbingly misleading; I am not in touch with Anthony Strangis and I made those recordings at a much earlier time, deliberately, for a specific reason.
“There’s a lot Bad Vegan gets right, but it’s hard not to get stuck on the things that aren’t right or leave an inaccurate impression. Later, I’d like to clear up more.”
Here’s hoping Pure gets it right but either way, we’ll be tuning in for another instalment of this truly fascinating story.
Watch this space for updates.